STORYTELLING – THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL CONTENT MARKETING
“Storytelling” has become one of the latest favorite buzzwords of the social media world. It’s been called by some the most important aspect of marketing today, and Shane Snow of Contently.com has gone so far as to say that storytelling “will be the top business skill of the next 5 years”. Marketers are obsessed with the subject, and it’s on fire on popular marketing blogs and Twitter. Though, what is storytelling really, why is it so effective and how can marketers become better storytellers?
As a marketer, I’ve been on the “storytelling bandwagon” for years, long before it was in fashion as a big trend in social media. On my company’s website (www.bluewavemarketing.com), the first line in our mission statement is, “At Blue Wave Marketing, we tell good stories and we help our clients tell theirs…” Good storytelling engages an audience, makes them think, makes them feel, and ideally entices them to action. People are much more likely to remember a good story – I’ve heard stats that people recall an impactful story 80%+ of the time – much more than statistics and facts read off of a slide, which leads to far lower recall. And, with the tens of millions of pieces of content shared every month, brands need to find ways to tell compelling stories to stand out and above the rest in the crowded online space.
Audiences watching online videos, for example, have discriminating taste just like they do when watching television at home or movies at the theatre. Viewers expect entertaining, dynamic broadcast quality video from businesses that tell good stories, evoke emotional responses, and entice them to take action. Stories can persuade, be inspiring and make our ideas stick.
In the same way, bloggers, advertisers, businesspeople and public speakers can leverage storytelling skills to their advantage. Everyone likes a good story, and politicians understand this well – which is why skilled politicians are so good at it and use storytelling skills to engage an audience and win votes. Companies can use storytelling techniques in their content marketing to promote and build their brands, and to drive engagement and sales. Being “crazy creative” with storytelling will pay dividends with larger audiences watching, reading or listening.
What are some ways that marketers can become better storytellers? Here are a few ideas to consider when producing your next video, writing your next blog or penning your next presentation:
- Telling a good story can be a challenging task, though it can often involve strong characters and finding interesting and creative ways to reveal those characters and their challenges. Your brand’s actual product(s) can be a character in the story, and defined to be the “hero” in the story with the goal of getting your audience to root for the character. Give your brand a personality, create a compelling story and wartch your message stick. Here’s a video we at Blue Wave produced for a technology company, Cognex, featuring a product of theirs, “DataMan 500”, as the “hero” in their creative animated video story: http://bcove.me/29ys1fwl
- Client case studies: there’s nothing as strong as a client case study with a good human element and story behind it. As the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding”….Find a client with an interesting and unique story to tell about their experience with your brand’s product or service, and the success of the outcome, and invite them to be featured in your piece. They will usually be thrilled – and you will be too, when you see the response from your audience. Here’s a customer case study video about Harley-Davidson & Bose: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWJsTD3y5SU
- The people behind your brand: There’s often no more interesting story to tell than the story about the people behind your brand and the developers of your product(s). Telling the story of the origins of your brand or products, and why your company does what it does, can be interesting and persuasive to your audience. What’s the passion behind your brand, and how does that reflect in the products and services you provide? Here’s a video Blue Wave produced for a technology client, Krohne, about their products and North American operations: http://bcove.me/nu0iqrym
Storytelling is much more than a trend – it’s the most effective way you can promote your brand’s unique message, and it’s not going out of style anytime soon. What ways are your company using storytelling techniques in your content marketing, to promote your unique brand and grow your audience?
This post was originally published on John Moran’s personal blog, johnmoranblog.